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Posts Tagged ‘David J. Bauman’

Turner-Peace_-_Burial_at_Sea framed

Peace: Burial at Sea- JMW Turner 1842



I have been super busy lately but when I get a free minute I have been listening to short bits of poetry read online. Most are only a minute or two long which provides a short break in the thought process which I find refreshing. I particularly enjoy works read by narrator Tom O’Bedlam.

Who this Tom O’Bedlam actually is has been a question for some time since he emerged around 2008 as a reader of poetry and garnered a folowing. He is an anonymous reader whose name is based on an equally anonymous 16th century poem, Tom O’Bedlam’s Song, which is considered one of the great anonymous poems in the English language perhaps the greatest of the mad songs, those verses dedicated to the ramblings of the seemingly insane. There is quite a long tradition of mad songs in poetry which makes one wonder about the link between poets and madness.

But the identity of the present day Tom O’Bedlam is still up in the air though his name does link to the website of contemporary poet David J. Bauman. Even so, it is never quite clear that he is the voice of O’Bedlam and his own readings sound much different. It is surmised that he uses an audio program to achieve the timber and tone of O’Bedlam’s distinctly pleasing voice.

I don’t really know and to tell the truth, it doesn’t matter much. I just enjoy the results and the choices of the poems selected for him to read. I particularly enjoy the work of British poet Philip Larkin (1922-1985) who often has a slightly acerbic, misanthropic skew to his very engaging work. I used one of his poems, High Windows, years ago for the inspiration for a painting.

Here’s a short example of Larkin’s work as read by the aforementioned Tom O’Bedlam. They linked the verse with the stunning painting at the top, Peace; Burial at Sea,  from a favorite of mine, the exquisite JMW Turner. Maybe that’s why I chose this one today.

Can’t really say but this is Next, Please. Take a break if you can and give a listen. Maybe it will refresh you, as well. If not, at least it make make you think a bit.

And that’s never a bad thing.



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